Wrap-Up Session - May 2013
- Central Africa
- Central African Republic
- Conflict Prevention
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Human Rights
- Lord's Resistance Army
- Peace and Security
- South Sudan
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you Mr President for convening this "wrap-up session".
Australia continues to believe this session makes an important contribution
to Council transparency and helps us to draw linkages between the different
items on our agenda and conclusions about our work while we go about it, as
well as to look ahead to key priorities.
We would like to recognise the significance of the African Union's (AU) 50th
anniversary summit held in Addis Ababa this past weekend. The AU has made great
strides in addressing the peace and security challenges facing the continent.
It is vital that the Council support AU efforts in this regard and we welcome
the AU's decision to establish a Rapid Reaction Force.
The Council's debate and Presidential statement this month on terrorism
in Africa underscored the acute challenges for Africa as a new front-line
in this fight.
We agreed that a comprehensive approach is needed to address this threat. We
now need to increase our efforts to build the capacities of African states through
an effective criminal justice approach which includes stronger policing and
intelligence and closer cooperation with prosecutors, defence counsel and judges;
to do more preventive work to counter violent extremist messaging and address
the underlying socio-economic drivers and vulnerabilities which terrorists exploit;
and to ensure coordination and cooperation at the regional and international
levels. The Council must also find ways to use sanctions regimes – particularly
the Al Qaida regime – to assist African states to combat the operations of Al
Qaida and its affiliates.
The debate was particularly timely as the UN prepares to deploy the Mission
in Mali – the successful deployment of which must continue to occupy us over
the coming months.
On Somalia – another vital theatre in the fight against terrorism –
we agree it is time for the Council to take a strategic look at challenges and
opportunities. Recent attacks in Mogadishu, and tensions in the south, highlight
the challenges of consolidating security gains and implementing a federal system.
It is important that we re-affirm our support and ensure the timely establishment
of UNSOM to assist the Somali Government towards that end.
Council briefing this month highlighted the need for further action on the
terrible situation in the Central African Republic. We welcome efforts
to date by ECCAS and the AU but more is required. The Council must throw its
weight behind regional initiatives, including by sending clear messages that
there will be no impunity for grave human rights abuses and by providing assistance
for stabilisation efforts. We also must enhance efforts to implement the UN
Regional Strategy to address the threat to civilians in the region posed by
the Lord's Resistance Army.
We are at a critical juncture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
as demonstrated by the resumption of violence in the east of the country. The
active engagement by the Secretary-General, and his Special Envoy Mary Robinson,
has been influential. The period ahead presents a vital opportunity to end the
cycle of conflict in the DRC and it is important that the Government of the
DRC and its neighbours seize this opportunity. The Council must remain closely
seized of progress in implementing the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework.
The revised mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau
(UNIOGBIS) under Resolution 2103 adopted this month will give renewed impetus
to the mission and to Special Representative Ramos-Horta in assisting the consolidation
of stability and return to constitutional order.
We welcome the increased troop numbers for UNISFA to facilitate joint
border monitoring. The standing up of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring
Mechanism demonstrates the important progress that has been made in relations
between Sudan and South Sudan. It is disappointing therefore that the Council
has been unable to agree on a statement to welcome this progress and to highlight
areas requiring ongoing attention.
This month brought further suffering to the people of Syria and an increasingly
destabilising regional impact from the crisis. The urgent focus now must be
on ending the conflict by bringing the Syrian parties together so that a plan
for Syria's transition can be agreed and implemented. We welcome the Kerry-Lavrov
Initiative and strongly support the Geneva II process. The Syrian authorities
must send delegates who are genuinely empowered to take the hard decisions necessary
to give effect to a credible transition plan. The Syrian opposition must quickly
agree to participate and to unite behind a plan for a democratic, pluralistic
Syria in which the rights of all Syrian citizens are guaranteed.
In turn the Council must support these efforts by backing any positive outcomes
and continuing to deliver direct messages on the urgent need to improve humanitarian
access, including across borders and conflict lines, including ensuring access
to, and the protection of, medical workers, facilities and supplies.
In the context of these destructive regional tensions, we welcome the efforts
of the US Government – and Secretary Kerry in particular – to reinvigorate
the peace process between Israel and Palestine. Recent announcements
of plans to boost the Palestinian economy can assist, but much remains to be
done by both Israel and Palestinians to re-engage on the political track. As
Israel's President Peres said to Palestinian President Abbas over the weekend,
now is the time for both sides to seize an opportunity for peace.
Australia is pleased to see the Council take up the issue of sexual violence
in conflict next month. The Council must make real progress on protecting civilians
from such violence and support measures to address this shocking problem including
through the investigation and prosecution of such crimes and the deployment
of gender expertise to UN missions.
Australia welcomed the opportunity this month to co-host with Guatemala an
Arria formula meeting on gender practitioners in peacekeeping missions. A consistent
message we heard from those operating in the field was on the need for strong
leadership within peacekeeping missions and from member states, as well as adequate
resourcing to enable the UN to fulfil the broad mandate it has been given by
the Council on women, peace and security.
The relationship between the Council and the International Criminal Court
should be mutually reinforcing. Informal interactive dialogues allow for a frank
exchange of views on complex legal and political issues. We encourage the use
of such dialogues in the future, including next month when the Council's focus
on the ICC will continue with Darfur.
To conclude: in the context of a very busy agenda over coming months, it will be important the Council informs itself about new and emerging conflicts. This is part of the Council's role in conflict prevention, something the Council should do more work on. We look forward to forthcoming opportunities to hear from the Department of Political Affairs and others about emerging conflicts, and to the Council integrating conflict prevention strategies more directly into our work.
Finally, Mr President, I would like to congratulate you and your team on your
successful guidance of the Council's work over the past month.